A video of some kind of gorilla-crow hybrid has been freaking out the Internet over the weekend. But like all good things these days, there might be a depressing explanation.
The video appears to show a ridiculously hench crow supporting its whole body weight by perching itself on the tips of its muscly wings.
The crow could not be contained, and soon started appearing on Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram in its attempt to terrify all areas of the Internet.
The main point of discussion (along with whether it should be called a crowilla or hulk crowgan) was just what in the hell was going on in the video. We can rule out a gorilla-crow hybrid pretty definitively, despite a lot of Redditors attempting to figure out the mechanics of how such a creature might be created.
Also, a crowilla would definitely look something like this.
So what's happening, is it really propping itself up on its hench wings? Also no.
Several ornithologists, thankfully, had an explanation for what's going on that doesn't involve any nightmarish new creature that will one day overthrow humanity. Kaeli Swift, who has a PhD in crow death behaviors, wrote that this is a large-billed crow, explaining the intimidating face.
She explains that it would be physically impossible for the bird to prop itself up just using its wings. She also concludes that it definitely has legs, pointing out that legless crows are unable to walk or take to the skies, being unable to generate any lift, and will die quite quickly, completely immobile.
"What it’s actually doing is sunning itself," she writes. "When birds sun they drop their wings and cock their tails. At the right angle that could obscure the legs and tail making it look like they’re missing."
Crows usually do this closer to the ground, but the person recording the crow likely caught it as it was transitioning to this position, she believes.
Helpfully, she and others included a drawing of what's probably going on.
And here is an example of another crow doing the same stance.
However, like with shower rat, there might be a much more depressing explanation.
"Sunning is a possibility. Another is that the bird might be emaciated," Dave Slager, a scientist studying birds and how they evolve at the University of Washington, wrote on Twitter.
"The keel looks highly pronounced here, which could indicate loss of breast muscle. Tired or hungry birds also often droop their wings down like this."
Swift agreed with the possible explanation, and they settled on the grim possibility that it might be an emaciated bird sunning itself. Sorry, everyone.
To try to end on a less depressing note, here's a sketch of what it would look like if it did turn out to just be a gorilla-crow hybrid.